Last week, we started a new approach to creating art here at South B. Instead of starting with media, or themes or even Artistic Behaviors, we started with the subject.
Well, I know what you’re thinking. That seems very broad. That’s what I thought too but it turns out it’s not. Actually, there are only nine things you can make art about. You say, Sands, that’s crazy talk. Certainly there are more than nine topics. But I say, we have a list of nine topics. These are subjects that one would make art about (not style or genre or technique) and pretty much any art you want to make can be made under one of the Nine. So before you judge, take a look at the list.
Above: Artwork created using the Architecture Packet (work still in progress).
So how does this work? We started by only introducing three of the Nine. The first three are Architecture, The Figure and Imagination. Each topic was presented to the students as a packet that contained the objective, questions for consideration, video tutorials for further exploration and examples of artwork. The students selected one packet they wished to pursue. Next, they answered the questions, tried a few tutorials, and planned a final work. We are currently spending this week working on their final piece.
Above: Artwork created using the Figure Packet (work still in progress).
Next week, the students will receive the next three packets; Portrait, Landscape and Conceptual. They will then have the choice to select either one of the new packets or any of the previous packets. Eventually, the students will be introduced to all nine packets. After that, they will be free to select from any of the Nine.
Above: Artwork created using the Imagination Packet (work still in progress).
Below: You can read more about the Nine in the April 2018 issue of SchoolArts Magazine. Click here to read the article.
Also, Texas Sculpture and Ceramics teacher Jean Barnett has done a lot with the Nine in her classes. Check out her blog post to read about how she incorporates the Nine into her Sculpture class.
Here at The Art of South Brunswick High School, NC, we incorporate the Teaching for Artistic Behavior or TAB philosophy in our classroom. TAB states that the student is the artist and the art room is their studio.
We believe students should be involved in the entire artistic process including designing, creating, and reflecting on their work.
It is our job as teachers to present ideas and concepts, demonstrate techniques and materials, and encourage and support our students to create and produce works of art at the highest level.
10/12/2017 12:55:51 pm
Cool I like it! Will you still introduce and look for artistic behaviors? Or are they implicit in the questions posed at the end of the packets? I ask because I've finally gone full TAB with many classes (after following your lead and years of partial) and I'm over the moon with the students inquiry and work. I love the TAB vocabulary and how the students find it so accessible/relatable. Also - will you have the students complete a reflection (blog post...whatever)?
10/12/2017 02:03:21 pm
Im using this more as an intro to TABing for my classes that may not be familiar with choice. I'll continue to introduce AB units as they advance.
10/12/2017 03:51:14 pm
Great stuff. You should write a book about choice art! Just kidding, already got it, and have gotten several teachers in my district to also purchase it as well.
10/12/2017 07:10:46 pm
This is great , but how do you students develop the skills for figure drawing, perspective, etc.? It looks like they have them already. Is this developed in a foundation class? Or are these lessons you give to Art 1 or Studio 1 students?
10/13/2017 05:32:34 am
There are several different methods for learning technique. Sometimes we do a full class warm up at the start of class. I also have students look at videos online to learn new skills. I also work one on one students to review skills as needed.
10/13/2017 05:29:04 am
Thanks! Glad you like the book. As for tutorials, there are a few on the Units page on this website. However, I let the students search and find their own because everyone has different ways they like to learn. One tutorial might be great for me but not for someone else.
10/13/2017 05:30:01 am
see comment below
10/14/2017 08:38:54 am
These are great, Ian.
10/3/2018 06:00:40 am
You inspire me so much Ian! I have your book, and really appreciate your willingness to share your ideas, resources, presentations, and packets! I currently teach middle school, and relate so much to the "ugh" feeling of DBAE projects like I used to do. Super open choices have not satisfied me at the MS level, nor have specific projects. I'm going to try something like "The Nine" to help open my students up to choices, while still not being in total chaos! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
6/15/2019 05:42:21 am
First thanks for the share....last year was my first year incorporating TAB into three of my 6 classes. The 7th graders who had little experience in formalized art really struggled with the idea of "choice". I think the idea of the nine will be a better fit for them as the transition from, "we are all going to make a ladybug" to full choice and have no idea where to start.
6/18/2019 08:32:38 am
7/11/2019 03:35:09 pm
Hey Ian! Following up on your last comment regarding "The Nine". So you're saying your plan is to roll out one of the nine per week next year for Art 1, correct? What does this look like in terms of the work produced by students each week? Are they doing exploratory/technique exercises each week? I'm assuming so, but at what point are they working on pieces that are more developed?
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Art of South B
Artwork by students at
Art of South B
The Visual Arts Dept. at SBHS is like no other program in the state. Learn more, watch the Intro to South B video.
Listen to the
Make Artists Podcast
with your host Ian Sands the choice based, student directed, Teaching for Artist Behavior, high school art teacher and stuff and things... but mostly stuff.
Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) is a student-directed art education pedagogy that directs students to think and work as artists.
Making Artists picks up where The Open Art Room left off, covering issues and situations choice teachers encounter as they design their program.
The Open Art Room provides a student-centered approach to art instruction that is inspirational, practical, and classroom-tested.
Click Here to read the May SchoolArts Article, "What If, TAB"
Click Here to read the March SchoolArts Article, Student-Directed Answers to Five Frequently Ask Questions
Click Here to read the January SchoolArts Magazine Article Engagement Grading
Click Here to read the November SchoolArts Magazine Article Is Disco The Cure For Artist Block?
Click Here to Read the September SchoolArts Magazine Article Learning Targets
Click Here to Read the 2019 Summer SchoolArts Magazine Article Realigning the Standards!
Click Here to Read the April SchoolArts Magazine Article Tracking Student Progress with the Burn Book!
Click Here to Read the February SchoolArts Article, Build A Dynamic Art Program with Modular Teaching!
Click Here to read the December SchoolArts Article, Tab Teaching is a Bag of Chips!
Click here to Read the October SchoolArts Article, Artists Solve Problems
Click Here to Read the Summer SchoolArts Article, Art Traps for Reluctant Students
Art Teacher : Ian Sands